The COVID-19 Working Group of the NTAGI has recommended inclusion of the Serum Institute's Covovax in the national vaccination programme for those aged 12 years and above, official sources said on Sunday.
India's drug regulator had approved Covovax for restricted use in emergency situations in adults on December 28 and in the 12-17 age group, subject to certain conditions, on March 9.
The COVID-19 Working Group has now recommended to the Standing Technical Sub-Committee of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) that Covovax be included in the national vaccination programme for those aged 12 years and above, sources said.
Serum Institute of India (SII) Director for Government and Regulatory Affairs Prakash Kumar Singh had written to the Union Health Ministry recently, requesting for Covovax's inclusion in the immunisation drive.
"A meeting of the COVID-19 Working Group of the NTAGI took place on April 1 during which data of Covovax was reviewed, after which it recommended that the vaccine can be included in the national COVID-19 vaccination programme for inoculating those aged 12 years and above," one of the sources said.
Singh had stated that the Pune-based firm wanted to provide Covovax to private hospitals at Rs 900 per dose plus GST and was waiting for directions to supply it to the Centre. However, the price of the vaccine for the government was not mentioned.
India began inoculating children aged 12-14 from March 16. Biological E's Corbevax is being used to inoculate them.
In a letter to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Singh was learnt to have said that private companies, educational institutes, social organisations, central government organisations and public sector undertakings were making requests for Covovax to inoculate their staffers, families and children.
"Under the visionary leadership of our CEO Adar C Poonawalla, we have developed, manufactured and obtained emergency use authorisation from our national regulatory authority for one more world-class COVID-19 vaccine, Covovax, for 18 years and above on December 28, and for children in the age group of 12 to 17 years on March 9, 2022," an official source quoted Singh as having written in the letter.